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Can I use my notebook while in the airplane? (of course, without internet connection).

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Do you mean can you physically without risk to the aircraft, or legally? –  Mark Mayo Feb 20 '13 at 20:18
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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Yes you can, portable electronic devices (PEDS) are divided into few categories, some of them are:

  • PEDs allowed all the times: such as some medical devices. They are allowed during all phases of the flight, for example some medical oxygen devices.
  • PEDs allowed during cruise: Most of the electronic devices are in this category, you can use them during the cruise phase of the flight, not allowed during critical phases (take off, landing, taxiing, .etc). This include laptops, MP3 players, tablets .etc.
  • PEDs not allowed at all: Some devices are not allowed during the flight at all times, such as walkie talkies. These devices could interfere with the operation of the aircraft hence they are strictly prohibited.

In the past few years things have changed a bit, for example cell phones used to be prohibited at all times but with the new airplanes they are allowed during cruise in major airlines, you can even use them and make calls. Same thing for WiFi, new airplanes have WiFi connection which will be available in the cruise phase.

In general, it is the airline's responsibility to show what devices are allowed and when during the safety demonstration. Things are different from an airline to another but in general these categories are the same.

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Depends on your notebook model and your traveling class. If you have an economy ticket and your traveling in one of those cheap airlines with very limited seat pitch and you have the luck of a friendly traveler in the next seat who decides to recline his seat during the journey, it get tough to use your notebook. If you are unlucky to travel with ryanair for example, where the pitch is only 30.0" working on a average notebook can be very hard. Last time I tried I could hardly unfold the screen, let alone type properly. I could only work if I would hold the laptop in a v-shape position, which isn't comfortable if you want to write a report.

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